Since being acquired by the Padres in a surprising deadline trade, Josh Hader’s San Diego tenure has gotten off to a rough start. The All-Star has been scorched for six runs over his last three outings and 1 1/3 innings of work, and as a result, Hader has temporarily lost the closer’s job. As Padres manager Bob Melvin told reporters (including The Athletic’s Dennis Lin), the team will deploy a committee for the ninth inning, while giving Hader “a little break” from save situations.
This obviously isn’t the outcome the Padres were hoping for when they gave up a significant prospect package to the Brewers on August 1, in addition to taking on the remainder of Hader’s $11MM salary for the 2022 season. However, it is worth noting that we’re dealing with a very small sample size of 3 1/3 total innings for Hader in a Padres uniform. In three of his five appearances, Hader has allowed two hits and a walk over 2 2/3 scoreless frames — but, in his other two outings, the Giants and Nationals each scored three runs off the right-hander. The result is a 16.20 ERA for Hader since coming to San Diego.
These recent struggles also underline Hader’s dropoff in performance since the start of June. Hader didn’t allow a single earned run over his first 19 appearances of the season, but over his last 19 2/3 innings, his ERA is a whopping 10.07, with three blown saves in 14 chances. For comparison’s sake, Hader only blew three saves total during the 2020-21 seasons.
It is quite possible that Hader might regain his form once he gets a few more games under his belt in San Diego, and in this scenario, it might not be long before he is Melvin’s top choice at closer once again. In the interim, the Padres could turn to any of Robert Suarez, Luis Garcia, Adrian Morejon, or Nick Martinez in save situations, depending on recent usage or specific situations.